Chefs' 50 Favorite Kitchen Tools
1. Panini Press
Panini press but not for Panini—for game hens and more.
Food Network Star
2. Immersion Blender
"It's great for emulsifying anything, like vinaigrettes, sauces and purees."
Birch & Barley, Washington, D.C.
"After overbuying at the farmers' market, I use a dehydrator to make amazing snacks: dried apples, pears, plums, mangoes, even turkey jerky for the dogs."
Border Grill, Los Angeles
My favorite is and will always be my grandmother’s spatula because holding her spatula is like holding her hand!
Paula’s Best Dishes
5. Salad Spinner
"Buy whole-leaf lettuce: It's cheaper, yields more and tends to be better and fresher. Take a little extra time to wash it, and make drying it easy on yourself."
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
6. Bamboo Steamer
"It's an elegant tool for cooking fish and vegetables to perfection."
Dahlia Lounge, Seattle
7. Knuckle Pounder
"It makes smashing garlic and tenderizing meat so much fun—in an aggressive, beat-down kind of way."
Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen
"I use my Kuhn Rikon peeler for anything and everything I peel or shave at home. I couldn't easily live without it."
North Pond, Chicago
9. Champagne Stopper
"Sometimes you just can't finish the bottle, and this will keep it fresh for the next day."
A Voce, New York City
11. Shark Skin Grater
"It perfectly grates ginger and garlic like nothing I've used before."
Clio and Uni, Boston
12. Mason Shaker
"It's a unique twist on the traditional cocktail shaker—it's great for entertaining."
13. Citrus Press
"We drink only fresh juice in my house—my daughters know how to cut the oranges and extract the juice themselves."
Minibar, Washington, D.C.
14. Carbon Knives
"Stainless-steel knives are hard to keep sharp. Carbon-steel knives get super sharp and hold their edge."
Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q, multiple locations
15. Vitamix Blender
"I absolutely need my Vitamix for movie-night milkshakes and early-morning juices."
16. Donabe Smoker
"It infuses depths of flavor into meats, fish and vegetables. Smoking with tea leaves is an ancient Chinese technique with wonderfully exotic and fragrant results."
Blue Ginger, Wellesley, MA
17. Electric Knife
"I love the way an electric knife can slice up roasts beautifully and easily. I actually still have the same knife my mom used when I was little."
Ten Dollar Dinners
"I like to use a large metal soup spoon for tasting and basting. You can use it to peel ginger, too—it's way better than a peeler."
Tertulia, New York City
19. Stand Mixer
"I can't live without a KitchenAid stand mixer. It makes it so much easier to get the perfect consistency in meringues, creams and dough."
FP Patisserie, multiple locations
1. Easier to clean than box graters.
2. Shreds, grates and zests all of these and more, perfectly: garlic, cheese, nutmeg, lemon, lime, orange, ginger, onion.
3. Super sturdy.
4. Various sizes, shapes and gradients to choose.
Cooking for Real
I love a mortar and pestle. Grinding toasted spices, mashing garlic cloves, connects me to my ingredients and makes tasty food!
Iron Chef America
"I'm neurotic and need precision when slicing. But watch your fingers!"
Good Stuff Eatery, multiple locations
23. Aluminum Foil
"I make a boat out of it to smoke delicate fish that normally wouldn't be grillable."
O Ya, Boston
24. Serrated Paring Knife
"It's the best all-purpose knife for everything from peeling shallots to coring apples!"
25. Digital Scale
"It allows you to apply more precision to your recipe measurements."
Co-author, Modernist Cuisine at Home
26. Flexible Plastic Cutting Boards
"They're inexpensive, easy to store and easy to clean. You can chop your ingredients and just pick up the entire cutting board, fold it and let everything slide into the pan."
27. Kitchen Shears
"I use them to open food packages, cut twine and make parchment circles for cake baking. They are great for skinning chicken, as well, and the blades come apart for easy cleaning."
28. Egg Cutter
My favorite kitchen tool is an egg cutter. My daughters love to use it on their soft-boiled eggs!
"I use it all the time to make sparkling water at home. I love how green it is with its reusable bottles, and I love how much time I save not driving to the store to purchase sparkling water!"
Mary Sue Milliken
Border Grill, Los Angeles
"I like to cook bouquets of vegetables wrapped in twine. I'll wrap leeks around fennel bulbs, tie them up and poach them in vegetable stock."
"I always thought it was more professional to chop with a knife the way they taught me in culinary school—but when I grew up, I realized that I chop better with a mezzaluna."
Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto Il Ristorante, New York City
32. Spice Grinder
"I buy whole-seed spices and grind them fresh. The flavor is so much more pronounced and I love the aroma, especially if they have been toasted first."
"A cleaver is a real kitchen workhorse: You can slice with it, use a flat side to crush ginger and garlic and transfer chopped food to a pan, and use the blunt back edge to tenderize meat."
The Slanted Door, San Francisco
34. Japanese Fish Scaler
"It is great for scale removal and does the job without damaging the flesh."
Incanto, San Francisco
35. Food Mill
I love the food mill because it doesn’t turn on—it’s your own elbow grease—stems and seeds stay uptown and big money stuff goes downtown!
Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell
36. Charcoal Grill
"I love grilling, and the Weber cooks everything evenly and provides a smoky char on vegetables, skewers, rib-eye...you name it."
Hinoki and The Bird, Los Angeles
37. Pepper Grinder
"A beautiful pepper grinder is not only attractive in the kitchen but also the perfect tool for finishing most dishes."
Arlington Club, New York City
"I believe a wok will help any home cook get exciting new flavors, try new techniques and—in the end—get rave reviews from friends and family."
Spago, Beverly Hills
I love, love silpats for crisp kale chips!
Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello
40. Laser Thermometer
"It's neater to work with as far as chocolate is concerned. Using a traditional thermometer that you have to insert into the chocolate gets very messy."
Jacques Torres Chocolate, New York City
41. Tupperware Bowls
I like to do my prep work ahead of time, and I’ve got a set of Tupperware bowls in multiple sizes that make it easy to do and come back to later. I use them everytime I cook, which is every day! Mise en place!
Not My Mama’s Meals
"I use it to cook grits and braise meats all the time. It also keeps boiled peanuts warm for snacking."
Husk, Charleston, SC
43. Oyster Knife
"R. Murphy's oyster knives are less disposable than most oyster knives. They come with different handles and shapes, and they are customizable."
The Ordinary, Charleston, SC
44. Griddle Pan
I absolutely cannot live without my heavy-bottomed square griddle pan. Perfect for easily flippable over-easy eggs and pancakes. Plus, it fits up to four sandwiches perfectly for a proper butter and griddle. Go bears!
45. Meat Thermometer
"This is a must for getting the exact temperature of steaks, roasts and pork loins. I also fry a lot of chicken, and I always need to be sure it's cooked right!"
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami
46. Pressure Cooker
"Braised short ribs in 25 minutes? Chicken stock with intense flavor without reduction in 15 minutes? The pressure cooker is a must-have in your home kitchen."
The Spence, Atlanta
47. Le Creuset
"I adore the colors—and they are great for both stovetop use and cooking in the oven, as they distribute heat well. They get better with age."
The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, New York City
48. Cast-Iron Skillet
"It heats food evenly, is easy to clean and maintain, and looks cool in the kitchen. It's the best pan for cooking a steak."
The Little Owl, New York City
49. Melon Baller
"At the restaurant, we use different shapes to make garnishes look sexy!"
Iron Chef America
"I love my denim apron. It's designed and crafted so well."